Round two of the Stephen A. Smith and Lavar Ball faceoff on ESPN’s First Take this morning was much more subdued and less confrontational than the first meeting in which LaVar Ball continued to beat his chest and make over-the-top proclamations and predictions for himself and his three sons.
Stephen A. Smith warned Papa Ball about his mouth delivering a check his son Lonzo and UCLA couldn’t cash, when LaVar refused to backtrack on his guarantee that UCLA would be in the Final Four.
UCLA was dispatched from the NCAA tournament by Kentucky this weekend, proving the first of Ball’s many bold and brash predictions to be nothing more than boisterous bravado and as he says “entertainment.”
A more humble LaVar Ball, accompanied by his soft-spoken son Lonzo, returned to First Take to eat some humble pie and answer to Stephen A. Smith in the wake of UCLA’s loss and Lonzo’s pedestrian performance in the biggest college game of his career.
Before Stephen A. went in, he turned to Lonzo who was chilling, laid back in a hoody and cap and said, "You're gonna have to forgive me if I want to get at him. This is not about you. This is about that man right there (LaVar Ball).”
"You talked an awful lot of smack, Mr. LaVar Ball.," Smith said. "...Are you humbled this morning?"
"UCLA lost this year, but check it out..we gonna win it next year...I got two more shots at it…”
Lonzo was pretty soft-spoken throughout the ordeal and took it all in stride, even the tough questions. He didn’t make any excuses for his performance or his Pop's palate for drama. As usual, his Dad tried to deflect some of the attention so that Lonzo wouldn't be the main subject in the interview. The panel was also very respectful of a young man who never did any of the talking his family is under such celebrity scrutiny for.
But Stephen A. and Kellerman made it clear that LaVar wasn't going to get out of there without getting taken to task for his big mouth. Ball didn’t seem too phased either way, admitting that he is here to “entertain.” It would have been a much more spirited interview if Ball and UCLA had made the Final Four, but like they say bad publicity is good publicity when that’s your end game.